The Great Digital Breakup
The new reality of dating and breaking up in the digital age.
Breaking up with a romantic partner has never been easy – countless songs and poems about heartbreak throughout the ages attest to that. But while in the past, breakups left you vulnerable emotionally, a breakup today can also leave you digitally vulnerable. Your ex could potentially take advantage of your digital assets for anything from relatively harmless activities, like watching movies on your Netflix account, to devastating actions like revenge porn or stealing your money. That’s why when you decide to call it quits, it’s important to sever the digital connections you share with your partner along with the emotional ones – everything from streaming passwords to wi-fi and device PINs. We’ve put together a list of some of the most important things you should be thinking about after a breakup, including some that may not be on your radar.
Change your passwords
The first thing you should do after a breakup is to change your passwords for all of your online accounts. Even if you don’t remember giving your ex a password directly, you may have logged into your account from your ex’s devices or exposed your login information in some other way. It happens more than you think – 33% of Cyrus users found at least one unknown device connected to their accounts. That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry and change all your passwords as a precaution. Start with social media – a survey by security.org shows that 65% of unauthorized use of online accounts after a breakup happened on social media. Your email account should also be at the top of your priority list, especially since your email address may be the key to logging in to other accounts. And don’t forget your bank accounts and financial platforms – you need to keep your money safe. Another precaution you can take after you’ve changed your passwords is to make sure that no unfamiliar devices are logged in to your account. If you’re using Gmail, just go into your account page and at the bottom, you’ll see a line that says “Last account activity”. Click on the details, and you’ll be able to see all of the activity on your account. If you see any that isn’t yours, click on the “Sign out of all other Gmail web sessions” button. We also recommend using the Cyrus app to secure your online accounts. Cyrus alerts you to any suspicious activities, such as unknown devices connected to your accounts.
Add two-factor authentication (2FA)
Most social media and online accounts give you the option to enable two-factor authentication. Although using 2FA is always a good practice, many people only implement it after they have a problem. The aftermath of a breakup is a great time to start using 2FA because it will keep you safe even if your ex somehow gets ahold of your new passwords. It’s easier than you think. Most 2FA features simply combine a standard login with a verification text to your phone, so if your ex tries to log in to one of your accounts, you’ll get a text and can block the login. Others 2FA options utilize an iris or fingerprint scan for absolute protection.
The aftermath of a breakup is a great time to start using 2FA
Revoke access to home devices
In the olden days, you had to change the locks after a breakup, especially when your ex had a key to your house. The equivalent in today’s world is blocking your ex’s access to smart devices that can unlock doors and give out information from your home – things like smark speakers, electronic doorbells, and even robot vacuum cleaners. In addition to changing your PIN and passwords for these devices, revoke your ex’s permission to access them from his or her phone. Do this for every device in your home, even ones that you don’t use frequently. Then look at all the accounts connected to those devices, like Amazon, Google, and Apple. In your account, you can see a history of the devices that have logged into your account, including the location where the devices logged in. Simply revoke access from any device you don’t recognize to make sure that your ex can’t invade your privacy. Want to do this in one click? Use Cyrus to revoke access to your devices and other accounts.
Update privacy settings
Not thrilled about the idea of your ex stalking you on social media? It may be time to update your privacy settings. All social media platforms give you options to determine who can and can’t see your posts. After a breakup, you may want to make your profiles more private, limiting the people who can see them to family and close friends.
Check for spyware
If you’ve been following the news recently, you may have read about the rash of scandals in which spyware was used to break into people’s phones and track all device activity without them knowing. Although the newsworthy phone break-ins involved world leaders and dissidents, the same technology can be used by a bitter ex. Use Cyrus or another scanner to make sure that your ex hasn’t hacked your phone.
All social media platforms give you options to determine who can and can’t see your posts.
Keep a low location profile
The last thing you want on a date with a new romantic interest is to have your ex show up at the next table. Even if you’ve blocked your ex on social media, your ex may have access to your friend’s accounts and use that access to track your movements. So lay low with your location data after a breakup. Turn off check-ins, and ask friends and family not to tag you at events. If you use location apps like Apple’s Find My app (formerly Find My Friends) or AT&T Family map, make sure your ex can’t access them.
Need some help?
If this seems overwhelming, don’t stress it – Cyrus can make it easier. Cyrus monitors your credit profile and activity on an ongoing basis so you don’t suddenly discover that your ex has opened a line of credit in your name. It also makes sure that your bank and email accounts are secure and protects you from identity theft. Cyrus even goes beyond your online accounts. The app checks to make sure that your phone hasn’t been hacked and scans the dark web to make sure nothing associated with you appears there – for example, your emails, phone, passwords, etc. With Cyrus on your side, you get the peace of mind you need to get on with your life after a breakup.
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